FTC to sue Microsoft to block purchase of Activision

Microsoft has previously restricted some major titles to use on its own devices, which the FTC alleges worked to stifle competition.

Updated: December 8, 2022 - 4:57pm

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The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday voted to sue Microsoft over its impending purchase of game developer Activision Blizzard on anti-trust grounds.

Should the $69 billion deal go through, the FTC contends, Microsoft could undercut competition by withholding access to developer content and manipulating prices, The Hill reported.

"Microsoft has already shown that it can and will withhold content from its gaming rivals," said the agency's Bureau of Competition director. "Today we seek to stop Microsoft from gaining control over a leading independent game studio and using it to harm competition in multiple dynamic and fast-growing gaming markets."

Activision Blizzard is one of the world's leading game developers and has produced major series such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, Guitar Hero, and Overwatch.

Microsoft has previously restricted some major titles to use on its own devices, which the FTC alleges worked to stifle competition. Microsoft produces the popular Xbox console series and the operating systems on most gaming PCs.

Microsoft President Brad Smith responded to the FTC suit, saying "We have been committed since Day One to addressing competition concerns, including by offering earlier this week proposed concessions to the FTC. While we believed in giving peace a chance, we have complete confidence in our case and welcome the opportunity to present our case in court."

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick was also optimistic the deal would go through, telling employees that "[t]his sounds alarming, so I want to reinforce my confidence that this deal will close," per The Hill. "The allegation that this deal is anti-competitive doesn't align with the facts, and we believe we'll win this challenge."